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Is it possible to use digital tools to assess the performance of workers at construction and production sites?

Improving the performance of employees who do not work in the same workplace is a challenge: constant movements, diverse activities, and varying numbers of people in work teams make it very difficult to assess the productivity. Examples of such work can be found in every industry (pipeline patrolmen, repair crews in the energy sector, mobile personnel in other industries), but the most striking one is in construction. Is it possible to use digital tools to assess the performance of workers at construction and production sites?

Labor productivity in construction

The statistics show that the labor productivity in the construction industry grew at an average annual rate of 1% over the past 20 years (and in some developed economies it did not grow at all), whereas for the entire global economy this figure was 2.8%, and for industrial sectors - 3.6%.

35% of the construction workers' time is spent inefficiently - that's 14 hours a week per worker. At an average wage of USD 16.18 per hour, the annual industry loss is USD 11,779 per employee.

The control of staff at construction sites is more difficult to arrange than in other sectors: over ⅔ of employees are engaged in manual work on construction sites. 

It is important to note that this problem is not only relevant for construction companies. Every sector constantly has some industrial or infrastructure facilities under construction, and similar challenges are common to the construction departments of industrial enterprises.

How to measure worker performance

Many companies are interested in monitoring worker performance, but wonder whether it can be can objectively assessed? Indeed, measuring performance requires a comprehensive assessment and yields more questions than answers. How to identify whether an employee is working at full capacity or not? How to determine the output rate in each case? What needs to be taken into consideration? Who can objectively estimate the maximum permissible load? How to consider the different working conditions of workers in different occupations? 

However, there is a number of objective performance indicators that can be measured and evaluated. These may include:

  • presence at the workplace during working hours;
  • amount of time spent at work (ratio of downtime, breaks, other examples of non-productive time and total paid time);
  • correspondence of worker’s location and job assignment.

If you'd like to learn more about how these indicators can help assess and improve employee performance, visit our webinar>>

Collecting data and estimating these indicators requires the use of modern digital tools. The example of SmartTeam – a digital solution that combines industrial wearables, on-site network infrastructure and AI-module – shows how it’s possible to assess and to improve staff time performance.

SmartTeam has been implemented at several sites.

A construction company providing design, construction and utility services for commercial premises uses a digital solution to:

  • monitor the staff presence on site;
  • prevent the control system cheating (transfer of wearable devices);
  • define a benchmark of work actions for subsequent assessment of staff activities.

One of Russia's leading timber holdings applies SmartTeam at the construction of a logging plant to solve the following tasks:

  • construction progress control;
  • employee timekeeping;
  • worker performance assessment;
  • presence monitoring at construction site.

Presence at workplace

The nature of construction work makes it difficult to control workers’ presence at the construction site - multiple work areas, need to move between different areas and floors, warehouses of building materials, etc. As a rule, only entry/exit control is performed, which leaves space for cheating: workers often come to the site, check in, find a way to leave the area and go to rest or work at a neighboring site. Other employees may come in late or leave early, taking advantage of absent monitoring.

SmartTeam allows to estimate how much time workers actually spend on site. Wearable devices can be used to keep track of where employees are, who of them are late or leave the facility early. In case of a violation, the system notifies the dispatcher and work supervisor, and can also send a warning to the worker himself.

Amount of time spent at work

However, even being at the workplace doesn’t mean to do the work. This includes frequent unmotivated interruptions, smoke breaks and other inappropriate use of working time. 

SmartTeam uses wearable devices equipped with a gyroscope and heart rate sensor to detect employee activity or inactivity. If a worker is resting or sleeping instead of performing tasks, the system detects this by the lack of movement and low heart rate, sends a notification to the supervisor and alerts the employee. Moreover, the digital tool helps to form at the end of the day or reporting period a complete picture of how much working time has been spent inefficiently and to calculate incentive payments accordingly.

Correspondence of worker’s location and job assignment

It is not uncommon if a worker needs to go to a warehouse to pick up building materials or tools. The time spent cannot be called inefficient, but it can easily become such if the worker goes to some other place or takes the opportunity to be in the warehouse as an extra break to rest.

Time and movement tracking with SmartTeam allows to match the worker's tasks to his actual activities. And if a construction worker is drinking tea instead of delivering the required construction materials, the system can notify the supervisor that he has exceeded the permissible time spent in the warehouse.

Another example of job and worker location matching analysis is the patrolman check. The SmartTeam analyzes not only whether a patrolman is following the route, but also whether the patrolling is being performed in the correct sequence. 

If you'd like to learn more about how to use digital tools to assess and improve employee performance, visit our webinar>>

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